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Tongan luger set to be nation’s first Winter Olympian

Dec 19, 2013, 10:07 AM EDT

Bruno Banani AP

Tonga is going to the Sochi Olympics.

Luger Bruno Banani has officially qualified for the Games now that the final World Cup event of the Olympic qualification season has passed, according to the Telegraph. Banani, 26, is ranked No. 44 in this season’s overall standings.

Banani gained a bit of infamy in January-February 2012, when the story of his name was widely publicized. Banani’s real name is Fuahea Semi, but he changed it to the name of his German clothing sponsor as a marketing ploy.

Tonga has competed at every Summer Olympics since 1984 but never a Winter Games, according to sports-reference.com. It includes one medalist among 31 Olympians, 1996 Atlanta Olympic super heavyweight boxing silver medalist Paea Wolfgramm.

Wolfgramm, nicknamed the “Tongan Warrior,” made a surprising run to the gold-medal bout, where he was beaten by Wladimir Klitschko.

(h/t @AmandaDoyleNBC)

Canadian Olympic champion’s Sochi hopes nearly done

  1. mikeevergreen - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Cool Runnings, part II

  2. phillyphannnn83 - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Somebody took ‘Cool Runnings’ literally.

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